Sales VS. Marketing
Do you ever feel like your sales and marketing teams are on opposing sides?
It’s been a constant battle for decades for many business owners. These two “sides” always seem to be chirping at each other…
“These leads aren’t good.”
“You don’t use our content properly to sell.”
Tell me something…Is this representative of your sales and marketing teams?
However, the real question is…
Does it actually matter if your sales and marketing teams are aligned?
Will that really help you SCALE your business?
I can simplify those answers for you in a few bullet points:
- You absolutely need sales.
- You absolutely need marketing.
- You ABSOLUTELY need them on the same page.
Sure, you’re selling. Revenue is there. But it’s just OK.
Just OK is NOT how you are going to scale your business.
At this point you might say, “Well look, if I’m selling, I’m selling. Marketing does their thing, sales does theirs.”
And I’d agree, that works to a certain point. Say, up to about $2M/year. Beyond that?
Why does the alignment matter? Because sales people need the right assets to start and then continue conversations to build relationships…
Cohesion is needed on all fronts: branding, messaging, and especially offers. Remember, when a prospective client senses any type of inconsistency, trust is BROKEN.
A great example is a pretty big insurance company a few years back. The sales team were ignoring everything the marketing team was creating–in fact, they were creating their own assets. Nothing was brand aligned, nothing was on-message with what the company’s marketing conveyed.
Basically, everyone was selling from a different playbook.
It worked for a while, but it crashed and burned. Buyers talked. People were getting different info, angles, and deals from different salespeople.
Nothing was consistent. What eventually happened?
People ended contracts. Eventually, the brand was sold for pennies on the dollar to an apex player.
The lack of cohesion killed them.
Incentives & Culture.
Incentives are often overlooked by business owners. As a company scales, the folks at the top are generally the first to be taken care of – so they don’t always remember to create an incentive structure for the rest of the team that are in “the trenches”.
It’s important that this incentive is one that motivates everyone to work together to reach both the short and long-term goals of the company.
Truthfully, sales and marketing have different incentive structures by nature. Sales is much more trackable. You sold A and B, or you didn’t. You sold them within this quarter, or you didn’t. Your pipeline is XYZ, or it’s not.
Marketing is much harder to track. We have more marketing analytics than ever before in human history, but we don’t use them as well as we could. (A topic for another newsletter.) We’re not always sure whether A-piece of content or B-video or C-infographic or D-banner at the trade show drove those prospects into the funnel.
We think we know, and we claim to know, but it’s not always as obvious as we want to believe.
Business loves “what’s measured is what matters.” So we focus more on sales, especially when there’s pressure from investors or the market.
When we focus too much on sales metrics (and ignore marketing), and a strong company culture doesn’t exist, it results in a few negative off-shoots.
A lot of times in a company where revenue generation is seemingly the one and only metric goal, all the other important aspects of a business – customer satisfaction, employee connection to the mission (and eventual employee turnover) – fall by the wayside.
Entrepreneurs can become overly-focused on immediate success instead of what long-term success would look like, and as a result, they might not even be a company in 8-10 years.
Specifically, at the sales and marketing levels, we see some flare-ups too:
- Sales starts treating marketing like their admins (example: “Schedule these calls for me.”)
- Marketing gets laid off because their ROI can’t be proven in tight, stressful windows. (And honestly, many Entrepreneurs we’ve worked with don’t even set up their analytics properly. They can’t prove ROI on anything outside of sales. That’s a bigger topic, again for a different newsletter, but–it’s definitely a problem.)
It’s a race to the bottom.
I’ve seen Entrepreneurs do pretty creative stuff around incentives…
Extra days off, beer gardens, taco trucks, KPI-tied bonus structures. Those all work. But always remember, we can always go a step further…
All of us want to belong to something. It’s a core principle in the hierarchy of needs.
Oftentimes, the simplest incentive is respect and recognition, and acknowledgment of a job superbly done.
Two years ago we integrated something called “snaps” (and I can’t take credit for this idea, it all goes to Chris Tuff, author of The Millennial Whisperer).
He says rewards and recognition are essential in any organization.
They don’t have to be financial either. Chris calls out his team members in meetings and gives them “snaps” for the good things they are doing in the company.
We took it a step further…
We encouraged each team member to give “snaps” to other team members when they do something worthy of recognition.
We then added a quarterly award for the team member who got the most “snaps”.
Two plus years after doing this (and giving a total of eight awards), I can see the enormous impact that positive accountability has created within our team around our culture.
Going above and beyond had become “THE” standard amongst the team. Performance soared. The team was happier than they’d ever been.
Everything was just BETTER.
It’s all about Culture.
Companies miss on culture because it’s a poorly-defined word, almost amorphous in many organizations, and Entrepreneurs are often product people or idea people – they don’t always know how to corral the fluid energy associated with culture.
When you are missing culture, chances are you also have high turn-over, which makes it nearly impossible to align sales and marketing.
Here are some things to think about regarding both pieces of this puzzle…
Consider these questions on the incentives piece:
- Is your head of sales meeting with your head of marketing at least once a week to discuss wins and pain points? (If this role is the same person, are they meeting with people from each team once per week?)
- How can those in marketing earn more as the company scales?
- What is sales’ biggest win and biggest complaint about marketing?
- What is marketing’s biggest win and biggest complaint about sales?
- How often do the two sides meet and discuss their goals, individually and collectively?
- How transparent are the metrics everyone is being evaluated on?
Consider these questions on the culture side:
- What is your culture? Can you define it?
- Do you have core values?
- Can people on your team recite those core values without checking your website?
- What activities, remote and in-person, shape your company culture?
- How often are you talking with and involved with all your team members?
- What’s the most fun thing about working with you, and your company?
- What do they tell their friends at happy hour about working in your company?
- How often do you revisit this idea of culture and reshape it?
These are big questions and they take time, and they look different at different growth stages. A company with five employees and $2M has a different culture and incentive structure than a company with 200 employees and $3B.
You may prattle on about “the DNA” of your culture, but the jump from $2M to $3B changes virtually everything, and it’s best to lean into that reality as you go.
So where do we come in? Well, the good news for you is, we’ve been doing all this stuff for decades now, collectively. We maximize sales and marketing output all the time, and work with teams on culture (and even now hiring) daily.
If you want to build an Infinite Business that people enjoy growing with and yet still make money hand over fist for your own family’s legacy to prosper, you need the right people, incentives, and culture. That’s what we do, so let us know if you want our help to get you there.
Simply reply to this email and we’ll set up a time to chat.
To your success,